Plant Your Peas on St. Patrick’s Day

By Analiese Paik

Heirloom blue podded peas grow well in a container garden.

If you’re planning to plant a garden this spring, now’s the time to visit your favorite seed seller to make your selections before stocks are depleted. Backyard gardening has never been more popular and each year new gardeners jump on board to revel in the joy and benefits of growing their own food. Research has shown that children who grow and pick their own food tend to eat it. That means they’ll eat more vegetables!

A simple and rewarding way to get your spring planting underway is to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day in containers. Shelling peas, snap peas and snow peas are all great choices and will taste incredibly delicious eaten the day they’re picked. Peas do well in cool weather, but wilt in the summer heat, so start planting now.

Simply purchase seeds, fill containers with organic potting soil, and directly sow the seeds according to package directions. If you plant climbing peas,  you’ll need to give them some supports or trellising and they can be purchased inexpensively in gardening stores. Put your container in full sun and remember to water and cover with mulch once the seedlings have come up. Peas are nitrogen fixers so once the peas have been harvested, be sure to leave the roots in the ground when you remove the vines to plant another crop.

I like to buy heirloom seeds because they’re unusual, delicious, and beautiful on the table. Comstock Ferre in Wethersfield, CT sells a wide variety of heirloom seeds both in their store and online, like the Blue Podded Pea pictured at left. An heirloom seed is one that is at least 50 years old and has been selected to be saved and passed down from generation to generation because it grows well and tastes good. Heirloom seeds, unlike hybrids or GMOs (genetically modified seeds) will reproduce true to the parent strain. You can save seeds too! Don’t miss the free seed saving workshop this weekend.

Happy pea planting!

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